In June, Joe Thornton hinted that he would be returning for his 22nd NHL season, and that he believes he could play five more years.
Almost two months later, Thornton still is an unrestricted free agent. He was seen working out with former Shark Patrick Marleau recently, and Sharks center Logan Couture, who has played with Thornton for 10 years, would be shocked if Jumbo isn't back.
"I talked to Joe a month ago and asked him what was going on and he said, 'Oh don't worry about it,' so I took that as he'll be back," Couture told NHL.com. "I just kind of figure it's going to happen, he's still got time, I'm sure he'll be back with the Sharks."
For Couture, playing without Thornton alongside him in teal is a tough one to envision.
"He has the invaluable assets that you need in any dressing room. When he walks in, he demands respect, he creates a fun atmosphere and fun environment, I couldn't imagine playing on a team without Jumbo," Couture told NHL.com. "My mind just can't work that out, not having Joe around, because it's been 10 years with him and it's been so much fun."